What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting has become one of the biggest trends in the health industry in the last decade. It is held up as a great way to lose weight, improve mental health and even live longer. In fact, many of the health benefits have been proved in scientific studies with animals.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not tell you what to eat, but more when to eat. There are several methods, all of which split the day or week into periods of being fed and fasted. Two of the most common patterns of fasting are a 16-8 hour split (with 16 hours of fasting), and fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
This is not a new concept, for millennia people have fasted. For example, hunter-gatherers did not have the technology to preserve food and would have experienced extended periods of fasting. As a result, our bodies are more than capable of enduring periods of fasting. And don’t forget we fast for at least 8 hours every night!
Why and how does Intermittent Fasting lead to improved health?
There are a number of reasons why intermittent fasting can improve your health, both for your mind and body, let’s break down those reasons now.
During a fasted period insulin levels drop, this makes fat stores in the body more accessible. Your body is then more likely to burn fat for energy causing weight loss to take place. The energy delivered from fat stores is a far more efficient and sustained form of energy than the energy you will get from insulin after a sugary, processed meal.
When you fast, levels of human growth hormone increase dramatically, as much as 5 fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain. Also, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
Additionally, intermittent fasting leads to an optimised hormonal profile, as well as lowering insulin and increased growth hormone levels, it increases the release of the fat burning hormone noradrenaline. Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%.
A 2014 study found that intermittent fasting can cause 3-8% weight loss over 3-24 weeks, which is a significant amount, compared to most weight loss studies. According to the same study, people lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, indicating a significant loss of harmful visceral fat, around abdominal organs.
Finally, and importantly, when you have a smaller window of eating, you are far more likely to simply eat less calories overall, thus making weight loss more likely.
Who should Avoid Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Brittle diabetics, adolescents, over 70s, pregnant women, people with chronic heart issues, kidney or renal issues, people with a history of disordered eating or a low BMI would not suit this type of eating.
What’s the Verdict?
Intermittent fasting won’t suit everyone, and if you have any chronic illness be sure to check with your doctor before trying a diet like this. However, I know people personally who have had great successes losing weight by using this type of diet.
Why not try having your breakfast an hour later for a week and see how you feel? Remember, breakfast is the meal which breaks your fast but no one ever said what time this had to take place at. Aside from the weight loss benefits you may experience, this is a lifestyle choice that benefits your mind too!
How can exante support an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle?
During a fasted state it is recommended that you avoid food, but coffee and water are fine. Why not try an exante Boost during a fasted period? This is a guilt-free energy drink which has a powerful hunger blocking blend that keeps you full for at least 3 hours. On top of this, Boost also contains a blend of ingredients that supports improved metabolic functioning, and fat reduction, such as green tea and raspberry ketone.